Jamón, jamón (1989) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
|Jamón Jamón, translated Ham Ham, is a Spanish sex farce that gives new meaning to the phrases "bad taste" and "over the top". In short, I loved it.||
|The story centers around Penélope Cruz in her first nude role. She is daughter of the woman (Anna Galiena) who runs the local cathouse/cantina, works in the men's underwear factory owned by the richest family in town, and is pregnant by the son of the factory owners. He promises to marry her, but his domineering mother, Stefania Sandrelli, will do anything to prevent the marriage. She hires underwear model/ham factory worker/wanna-be bullfighter Javier Bardem to seduce Cruz. Things are not nearly that simple however. Seems Cruz' fiance has been using her mother's services for years, as had his father before him, and Sandrelli falls for Bardem. All this wackiness, and we haven't even mentioned nude midnight bullfighting with full frontal male nudity, or running to Cruz' house naked when they are caught.|
|I have to love any film that shows breasts several times from a very young Penélope Cruz, breasts from Anna Galiena, and bush from Stefania Sandrelli, is full of sex and outlandish humor.|
|Scoop's notes in yellow:
I don't like this film as much as Tuna does. In fact, without the nudity, I don't know if I would like it at all.
If Salvador Dali came back to life as a 1992 filmmaker, he would make a movie pretty similar to this - surreal, grotesque, farcical, and yet infuriatingly melodramatic, with a heaping helping of social commentary. Imagine a film with the comic inspiration to have two men fight a duel by battering each other with giant smoked hams. Then imagine that one of them actually dies a brutal and ugly death from the beating he receives in this duel. That will give you an idea of the way the tone can shift in this deliberately unconventional movie.
It is too simple to call it a comedy or a farce. It's a comedy only in the sense that Fargo is a comedy. And yet it is not really a melodrama or a black comedy, either. I think it is most comparable to some of the works of the Theater of the Absurd, like the plays of Ionesco, for example.
It isn't my cup of tea because the characters are abstract devices, aloof from emotional identification, but I can see why some people enjoy this as an alternative to the pablum served by Hollywood. It is many things, but it is never safe, and I guess we need risk-takers like director Bigas Luna
You may find it interesting to see international stars Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem when they were just aspiring young Spanish novices.
Return to the Movie House home page